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Mar 15, 20215 min read

Maude founder Éva Goicochea on destigmatizing sexual wellness and being a fearless leader.

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by Klarna

This month, as the world celebrates women, Klarna is spotlighting a selection of female business owners and industry leaders within the Klarna network to share their stories of entrepreneurship, challenges and growth.
Éva Goicochea is the Founder and CEO of maude.

Tell us your story. How did you get to where you are today?

I was born in New Mexico, raised in California, and studied in New York. From an early age, I knew that I wanted to do something in the design world that also made a difference for people, then I thought perhaps I’d end up an architect. Having been interested in public health in college—I was a legislative aide in healthcare then and after graduation—and later coming from a product background as a brand and social media strategist for mission-driven companies like Everlane, I decided to pursue creating a consumer goods company that solved for everyday wellness. To me, sexual health was such a critically overlooked part of this and ultimately, I believe that it’s the foundation for how we feel about ourselves and others. If you look at the typical consumer experience around sexual health, it’s the last frontier in personal care. Realizing that the industry was outdated and with no sign of it changing, I decided to create maude, an inclusive modern intimacy company.

Has being a woman empowered you to make any bold decisions in your career?

Raised by a strong mother, I think I was pretty fearless early as I was never told I couldn’t pursue whatever I set my mind to. That said, navigating sexual wellness requires an enormous amount of empathy and perspective on the inequity that exists in the space and to take it on is to become David vs. Goliath. Because I sit where I do—as a woman, as a spouse, as someone navigating my late thirties—I can identify with our audience and I don’t know that, say, the older men who typically have run the industry have the perspective to do the same.

How does your brand empower women? How does this compare to where your industry is in terms of gender diversity and inclusion?

We empower women by considering their needs equally to men and to every gender. Through our assortment and fair pricing, particularly of the vibrator which for so long has been a product treated as a taboo novelty, we are democratizing and destigmatizing sexual wellness so they feel considered and heard. Sexual wellness is human and all people deserve to be comfortable with the category and have access to the resources and tools they need to have a healthy, happy sex life.

What is a challenge you’ve experienced as a woman in a leadership position?

The visibility and success of the brand has most recently led to male-founded copycat products (that only focus on women) cropping up in what can only be described as money-grab moves. While they can keep trying to speak to women, the reality is that female consumers are smart and they don’t want to be pandered to and overcharged by men. It’s the innovations coming from brave and resilient women leaders that are evolving this space for all people.

Do you have any advice for aspiring young women or other female business owners?

Be prepared to fight, work, and worry twice as much, but know that as the saying goes, “rarely has a well-behaved woman made history”. Continue to build and believe in yourself—you are paving the way for others and you’ll leave the earth a better place for it.

Share one business tool, tip or trick that has changed your life.

I’ve compiled all of my tools and tricks here.

What are two products that have helped you be creative and productive this year?

Founders Weekend, a site I created that compiles all of the resources and interesting things I’ve found as I’ve been building the company, is where I go to catalogue how to continue to be creative and to evolve. I also had to give up coffee so my morning tea is, despite how cliche it sounds, a ritual that I look forward to and helps set the tone for the day.

What was the biggest lesson you learned in 2020?

Plan for the best, prepare for the worst.

What about your business or industry are you most excited about in 2021?

We have some incredible new products and projects launching this year and I couldn’t be more proud of my brilliant team.

Read more Women’s History Month interviews here.

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